Skip to main content

The Pulp Magazine Archive

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The first "pulp" was Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy Magazine of 1896, about 135,000 words (192 pages) per issue on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no illustrations, not even on the cover. While the steam-powered printing press had been in widespread use for some time, enabling the boom in dime novels, prior to Munsey, no one had combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to working-class people. In six years Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.

Street & Smith were next on the market. A dime novel and boys' weekly publisher, they saw Argosy's success, and in 1903 launched The Popular Magazine, billed as the "biggest magazine in the world" by virtue of being two pages longer than Argosy. Due to differences in page layout, the magazine had substantially less text than Argosy. The Popular Magazine introduced color covers to pulp publishing. The magazine began to take off when, in 1905, the publishers acquired the rights to serialize Ayesha, by H. Rider Haggard, a sequel to his popular novel She. Haggard's Lost World genre influenced several key pulp writers, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt. In 1907, the cover price rose to 15 cents and 30 pages were added to each issue; along with establishing a stable of authors for each magazine, this change proved successful and circulation began to approach that of Argosy. Street and Smith's next innovation was the introduction of specialized genre pulps, each magazine focusing on a genre such as detective stories, romance, etc.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The most successful pulp magazines were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories described by some pulp historians as "The Big Four". Among the best-known other titles of this period were Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Flying Aces, Horror Stories, Love Story Magazine, Marvel Tales, Oriental Stories, Planet Stories, Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine. Although pulp magazines were primarily a US phenomenon, there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War Two. Notable UK pulps included Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Story-Teller, The Sovereign Magazine, Hutchinson's Adventure-Story and Hutchinson's Mystery-Story. The German fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten had a similar format to American pulp magazines, in that it was printed on rough pulp paper and heavily illustrated.

The Second World War paper shortages had a serious impact on pulp production, starting a steady rise in costs and the decline of the pulps. Beginning with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941, pulp magazines began to switch to digest size; smaller, thicker magazines. In 1949, Street & Smith closed most of their pulp magazines in order to move upmarket and produce slicks.[8] The pulp format declined from rising expenses, but even more due to the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel. In a more affluent post-war America, the price gap compared to slick magazines was far less significant. In the 1950s, Men's adventure magazines began to replace the pulp.

The 1957 liquidation of the American News Company, then the primary distributor of pulp magazines, has sometimes been taken as marking the end of the "pulp era"; by that date, many of the famous pulps of the previous generation, including Black Mask, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Weird Tales, were defunct. Almost all of the few remaining pulp magazines are science fiction or mystery magazines now in formats similar to "digest size", such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The format is still in use for some lengthy serials, like the German science fiction weekly Perry Rhodan.

Over the course of their evolution, there were a huge number of pulp magazine titles; Harry Steeger of Popular Publications claimed that his company alone had published over 300, and at their peak they were publishing 42 titles per month. Many titles of course survived only briefly. While the most popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly. The collapse of the pulp industry changed the landscape of publishing because pulps were the single largest sales outlet for short stories. Combined with the decrease in slick magazine fiction markets, writers attempting to support themselves by creating fiction switched to novels and book-length anthologies of shorter pieces.

Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. The early pulp magazines could boast covers by some distinguished American artists; The Popular Magazine had covers by N.C. Wyeth, and Edgar Franklin Wittmack contributed cover art to Argosy and Short Stories. Later, many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Earl Mayan, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Rudolph Belarski and Sidney Riesenberg. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match.

Later pulps began to feature interior illustrations, depicting elements of the stories. The drawings were printed in black ink on the same cream-colored paper used for the text, and had to use specific techniques to avoid blotting on the coarse texture of the cheap pulp. Thus, fine lines and heavy detail were usually not an option. Shading was by crosshatching or pointillism, and even that had to be limited and coarse. Usually the art was black lines on the paper's background, but Finlay and a few others did some work that was primarily white lines against large dark areas.

Another way pulps kept costs down was by paying authors less than other markets; thus many eminent authors started out in the pulps before they were successful enough to sell to better-paying markets, and similarly, well-known authors whose careers were slumping or who wanted a few quick dollars could bolster their income with sales to pulps. Additionally, some of the earlier pulps solicited stories from amateurs who were quite happy to see their words in print and could thus be paid token amounts. There were also career pulp writers, capable of turning out huge amounts of prose on a steady basis, often with the aid of dictation to stenographers, machines or typists. Before he became a novelist, Upton Sinclair was turning out at least 8,000 words per day seven days a week for the pulps, keeping two stenographers fully employed. Pulps would often have their authors use multiple pen names so that they could use multiple stories by the same person in one issue, or use a given author's stories in three or more successive issues, while still appearing to have varied content. One advantage pulps provided to authors was that they paid upon acceptance for material instead of on publication; since a story might be accepted months or even years before publication, to a working writer this was a crucial difference in cash flow.

Some pulp editors became known for cultivating good fiction and interesting features in their magazines. Preeminent pulp magazine editors included Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (Adventure), Robert H. Davis (All-Story Weekly), Harry E. Maule (Short Stories) Donald Kennicott (Blue Book), Joseph T. Shaw (Black Mask), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales, Oriental Stories), John W. Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction,Unknown) and Daisy Bacon (Love Story Magazine, Detective Story Magazine).

Description of this collection from Wikipedia.

Many issues of this collection come from a variety of anonymous contributors, as well as sites such as The Pulp Magazines Project and ThePulp.net.

347
RESULTS
rss


PART OF
Additional Collections
Media Type
347
texts
Year
347
(No Date)
Collection
More right-solid
Language
347
English
SHOW DETAILS
up-solid down-solid
eye
Title
Date Published
Creator
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 2,331
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria 344(2015)(Digital)(TLK EMPIRE HD)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 2,052
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 260 The Hills Have Eyes 2 2007
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,969
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 135 (1994) (Necronomicon) (HQS) c2c
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,774
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria 001 1979 Godzilla [O'Quinn
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,527
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria Legends Presents 002 John Carpenter (2013)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,429
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 338
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,300
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria Presents Best & Bloodiest Horror Video 002
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,288
favorite 5
comment 0
Fangoria 021
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,189
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria Poster Magazine 001 (missing posters) (1987)
Fangoria 078 (Oct 1988) (Hellraiser 2) (FIXED) (B HQS) c2c
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,094
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria Legends Presents 001 George A. Romero (2012)
Fangoria 000 Guide To The Gruesome (the complete Fangoria Index 1 149)(part1 3 Comp, from Fangoria 150 2)(dregs)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,070
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 010 c2c 1981 Scanners (scan by liabach) S
Fangoria 022 c2c 1982 Halloween 3 season of the witch scan by SproutScansAllVampirellaNext S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,039
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 002 O Quinn 1979
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,008
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 341(2015)(Digital)(TLK EMPIRE HD)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 1,005
favorite 4
comment 0
Fangoria Legends Presents 003 d Cronenberg (2013)
Fangoria Presents Best & Bloodiest Horror Video 001
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 981
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria Scream Factory 001
Fangoria 015 c2c 1981 Halloween 2 (scan by BannanaSloth) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 960
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 003 1979 Arabian Adventure [O'Quinn
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 935
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 007 c2c 1980 ( A sir sprout scan) S
Fangoria 012 c2c 1981 Friday13thP2 (scan by sprout bones666 missing pages) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 924
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 308(c2c)(2011)(Re em)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 915
favorite 1
comment 1
Fangoria 006 (1980)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Fangoria 023 c2c 1982 Evil Dead scan by SproutHatesWatermarks S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 886
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 027
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 879
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 019
Fangoria 009 c2c 1980 Motel Hell (scan by SkinnyPuppy) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 864
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 046 c2c 1985 Lifeforce Sprout DREGS S
Fangoria 020 (1982) (Creepshow) (Sprout Bollywox DREGS S) c2c
Fangoria 100 c2c 1991 Gold cover (FemaleBikerSweat DREGS)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 842
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 008 c2c EDIT by NiN S
Fangoria 011 c2c 1981 Funhouse (scan by SproutsLastPossibleScan) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 836
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 030
Fangoria 014 c2c 1981 the Howling Sprout Bollywox DREGS S
Fangoria 032 (1984) (Christine) (scan by SeveredSprout S) c2c
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 815
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 107
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 804
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 004 1980 Spock [O'Quinn
Fangoria Presents Cinemagic Horror FX 01 (c2c 1989)(Sprout Teachbug)c6
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 783
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 005 1980 Saturn 3 [O'Quinn
Fangoria 029 c2c 1983 Gates of Hell (Sproutcore Bollywox DREGS)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 774
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 235
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 773
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 329
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 768
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 070
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 767
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria 040
Fangoria 079 c2c 1988 Halloween 4 PeePeeTheSailor DREGS
Fangoria 065 c2c 1987 Predator (PeePeeTheSailor DREGS)
Fangoria 066 c2c 1987 The Lost Boys (PeePeeTheSailor DREGS)
Fangoria 063 c2c 1987 Evil Dead 2 (PeePeeTheSailor DREGS)
Fangoria 025 c2c 1983 Videodrome (FIXED)(Sprout Bollywox DREGS)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 725
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 147
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 718
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 342(2015)(Digital)(TLK EMPIRE HD)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 713
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 053
Fangoria 057 c2c 1986 Texas Chainsaw 2 Sprout DREGS
Fangoria 016 c2c 1981 Ghost Story (scan by JohnCarpenter) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 707
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 038
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 706
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 056
Fangoria 035 (Apr 1984) (Ozzy Osbourne) (Tranzor) c2c
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 689
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria 024 c2c 1982 XTRO scan by SproutRus S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 686
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 034
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 684
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 028
Fangoria 013 c2c 1981 Dragonslayer Sprout Bollywox DREGS S
Fangoria 017 c2c 1981 Grisly Independents (scan by SproutFactory) S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 674
favorite 1
comment 0
Fangoria 037 c2c 1984 Gremlins (smog777 DREGS)
Fangoria 127 (1993) (Return of the Living Dead 3) (FIXED) (DREGS) c2c
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 669
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 200 (2001) (HQS) c2c
Fangoria 018 (1982) (Cat People) (Sprout Bollywox DREGS S) c2c
Fangoria 076 c2c 1988 Fright Night 2 Sprout DREGS S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 662
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 130
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 661
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 346(2016)(Digital)(SkyRat)
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 650
favorite 3
comment 0
Fangoria Horror Spectacular 02 (1990)
Fangoria 049 c2c 1985 Freddys Revenge Sprout DREGS S
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 646
favorite 2
comment 0
Fangoria 286
Fangoria Magazine
texts
eye 646
favorite 0
comment 0
Fangoria 160